CCRG is working with national and international research teams and stakeholders to assess the impact of human impacts, climate change and other environmental drivers on catchment coastal water resources and helps to develop strategies for the sustainable use of river, surface and groundwater resources. Research foci within the theme include:
Fire Impacts on Freshwater Habitat
Wildfires are the future threat to freshwater quality globally. Recent research from the CCRG suggests wildfires not only burn biomass and soils layers which erode into nearby waterbodies and alter freshwater characteristics such as pH, turbidity, organic and base cation content. These fires also alter vegetation composition and in turn the underlying soil organic composition which causes shifts in aquatic ecosystem species composition, change in nutrient availability, and can reduce resilience to disturbance in freshwater systems.
Catchment Water Quality
Water quality is central to both humanity’s ability to utilise water as a resource and the ecosystem services it can support. In the CCRG we research the quality of both ground and surface water systems and how these will alter with human action. We have a range of projects focusing on the water quality of Fenland catchments including the risk of salinization of groundwater, the transportation of microplastics in Fenland Rivers and phosphorus driven eutrophication risks to Fenland rivers. Beyond this our team have worked internationally including collaborating with other universities on circum-Himalayan catchments (e.g., Ganga, Mekong etc.).
Soils and Water
Soil is both a gateway for water to enter catchments and, in managed systems, a key utiliser of catchment water via irrigation. The CCRG conducts applied research in agriculture and land management, with projects on irrigation, drainage and agricultural water resources. Current work focusses on brackish water resources in coastal agriculture, and the impacts of saline irrigation on soil health.
Peatlands are key carbon stores and unique habits and Lincolnshire is rich in these resources. The CCRG works with land managers and trusts to deliver impactful research to support the restoration of lowland peatlands as well as detailed chemical analysis to understand carbon storage processes in these systems.